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March 26, 2013


I need God.

It was one of those nights last night.  You know, one of those nights that afterwards you would just rather forget about it, because there wasn’t an awful lot you were proud of.  I think of those nights as Crazy Mama nights.

Three children and I had spent 1 1/2 hours that afternoon sitting in a doctor’s office to get the middlest’s arm re-cast (nothing broken, just hand surgery the prior week to remove a decent sized piece of glass that had been embedded there for 6 weeks or so).  I was fried, the kids were hungry, and Curtis had to work late.  When we finally got home (3 hours after I had picked them up from school), the boys were nuts.  Even through supper, which is usually pretty calm, believe it or not, the boys were silly, feeding off each other and getting more and more wound up.  I could feel myself getting wound up tighter and tighter as well and all I could think was, “I have to get these boys to bed as fast as I can.”

Needless to say, the transition to bed didn’t go well.  Crazy Mama showed up and there was a bit of yelling. (Lots of “Listen to me!!”  “Do you hear me?”–no name calling, just words that tried to express my frustration).    I could feel myself escalating and didn’t know what to do.  It was one of those moments when I could see myself in the situation perfectly and knew, this probably wasn’t textbook good parenting.  (Lest you worry, no one got physically hurt–it just wasn’t the creative, patient parenting I normally aspire too).  I never realized out of body experiences occurred when parenting, but I’ve found they do.

Eventually everyone got settled, but I didn’t feel good about the night.  John and I laid in bed and snuggled as I said his prayers.  I added a bit of extra to the prayer that night.  We asked God’s forgiveness for both our behaviors.  We apologized to each other.

Since then, I’ve walked around feeling a bit defeated, especially as the morning started with John yelling mean, ugly words me.  I felt tears welling up in my eyes, which is unusual for me.  Usually the children’s words fall like rain on an newly stained deck on me.  After last night’s outburst however, I felt the words as a direct failing.  The tears were for knowing that if my children yell, it is probably because I sometimes yell when Crazy Mama visits.

All morning I carried around the sadness and defeat of messing up.  I felt unforgivable.

As I sat down to do my morning prayers, specific for Tuesday of Holy Week, I realized something.  I wasn’t unforgivable.  God didn’t just forgive the really small stuff that I feel not much guilt about, like being frustrated internally (and not acting out) and thinking rude, snarky thoughts sometimes.  God forgave that big stuff too, the stuff that caused a lot of guilt, like yelling and becoming Crazy Mama with my kids.  I began to get Holy Week a little bit more.  Jesus died so I was forgiven.  Jesus died so I could experience God’s grace, so I could still be God’s beloved whom he is proud of, without making a sin offering and having my vocal cords removed for the amount of yelling I did.

I started to get it.

Then at lunch, it was complete.  As I sat with Isaac, hoping he would please go to sleep and trying not to get frustrated, I read my midday prayer.  This has been the first I’ve really read the midday prayers in A Common Prayer.  In the past, I’ve stuck with just morning and evening prayers.  The midday prayer is almost like the greatest hist of Christian prayers/verses.  The Beatitudes are in there along with the Prayer of St. Francis of Assisi.  The fruits of the spirit are also included.  It’s a great reminder of how I should live my day.  In the last prayer, which sounds famous, but I don’t know where it’s from, I prayed:

Water from the side of Christ, wash me;

passion of Christ, strengthen me.

O good Jesus, hear me;

within your wounds hide me;

While I am not normally a person that talks about (or takes comfort in) Jesus’s wounds or stripes (as referred to in a very old Carmen song that pops into my head whenever I hear Jesus’s wounds or stripes), for some reason, today it was comforting.  I felt the need to be hidden and kept safe, mostly from myself and my impatience.  I needed to be kept safe from my own humanity and from that Crazy Mama who visits when I am exhausted and/or stressed.  I needed a place to rest and find comfort.  Jesus’s wounds were that.  In my own overactive imagination, I found myself small, enveloped in darkness by God.  I could rest.  I was not alone.  My much needed break was provided in my short two-minute or less visualization.

Today, I am thankful that Jesus walked through Holy Week. All his friends abandoned him at some point, all but his Father.  I hope God allowed Jesus to hide in him when he felt his own humanity most acutely.

There is hope in the darkness, always, even in the darkness of Holy Week.  We are never alone.


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Ruth permalink
    March 27, 2013 12:24 pm

    Just so you know, Melani, YOU ARE FORGIVEN!

    • March 27, 2013 12:38 pm

      Thanks Ruth! It’s amazing what a difference writing about something makes for me in helping me to realize I am forgiven. 🙂

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